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Schoolhouse Rock Live!

Memories will be brought back as you take your kids or grandkids to The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire for their latest production for younger audiences, “Schoolhouse Rock Live!”, a live stage musical production/interpretation of the award-winning cartoon show of the 1970's. I recall my kids watching this on a Saturday morning and learning from it as well. Marriott’s version is highly energetic and loaded with young talented performers who make this educational show FUN!

The original stage version of this ‘toon classic was co-created by one of our own (speaking for Marriott) George Keating, who many of us have watched grow up on Chicago-area theater stages, who also was in the original version and is now the director of this production. One of the problems for any director in putting a second stage production on the stage is that of the set for the night time show, which in this case is “Cabaret”, but Keating handles it well. I am anxious to see what “Cats” ( the next mainstage production brings, but I am sure he will handle it). While this show is truly geared for a little older than usual audiences, the high energy of the solid cast and the dynamic choreography of Erika Mac, truly keep the attention of the younger set, who by the way, are also learning from this theatrical experience.

As most of you know, I bring young grandchildren to the productions geared for kids, and today, Sarah and Rebecca were my guests. They are 5 ( almost 6, Sarah) and 3 ( almost 4, Rebecca) and while some of the story might be over their heads, both got into the spirit and energy of what was taking place. Sarah even asked if she could come back because her older brother Adam (who would LOVE this show) needs to see it. Sarah loved the songs and Rebecca loved the part where we were squirted and the actors played hide and seek. I am planning to find a time to take 9-year-old Adam and his friend David back, as Sarah is right- this show is perfect for that age group.

The story is about Tom (Brian Bohr) a new teacher, just starting his career, waking up the very first day of class, being nervous about what he is going to do in order to reach the kids he is about to face. His alter-egos appear ( cartoon type characters) who are in fact his own inner thoughts and beliefs, teaching him that there are other ways to reach those you are presenting to- through the magic of music , “Just a Bill” ( teaching us about how Congress gets something enacted into law), “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly”, “Conjunction Junction” with solid performances by the other five cast members, Holly Stauder ( her voice is amazing, and her number about Women’s Rights “Sufferin til suffrage” is amazing) the adorable Brandi Wooten as Ditzy Dori ( a tall lanky , and very agile dancer) is as charming and “down home” as can be with her lead in “A Noun Is A Person, Place or Thing”. The third female in the show is Rose Le Tran who is small in stature, but huge in talent.

The other males are the sprightly Zachary Gray as George and the very comical Jackson Evans as Joe. together with Bohr and the lovely ladies, this cast is filled with high energy and solid performance skills. Just think about this- they perform at 10 a.m. ( yes in the morning) with high energy ( how much coffee does that take?). To be honest, it appears that they are having as much fun playing to the audience ( as well as with) as we are, and while the suggested age for the show is 2nd grade thru 6th, the little ones will find some entertainment values and some of the “school stuff” might come in handy later.